Has anyone seen the post-pandemic parenting guide?

Thinking about the past two years exhausts me just thinking about it. There were highlights like spending more time together, just enjoying sitting outside, trying to garden and a few low points which also included so much time together, a failed garden and the craziness that was going on in the world outside. outside our house that was out of my control.

At home, we found ourselves saying things like “when things go back to how they were…” and “when we can do this again, everything will be different”. Now, we’re as close to “business as usual” as we’ve been in a long time, and many of the parenting challenges we thought we could overcome have come to light and can’t be ignored.

One of my kids can’t remember life before masks and dad working from home and my other kid has become the ultimate homebody. The past few months have highlighted for us how important it is for children to know that they have adults who care about them in their lives, at home, at school and around them. I saw first hand how my child reacted to teachers, guidance counselors and school management saying they were supportive and there to help her succeed. I saw my child’s sweetest smile after reading a note from a cousin saying he was just a phone call away. These seemingly small interactions had a huge impact.

A Child Trends study found that “having one or more caring adults in a child’s life increases the likelihood that they will thrive and become a productive adult themselves.” We are fortunate to live in a community with a thriving Boys and Girls Club that is committed to meeting the interests of Henderson County youth and their educational, physical, emotional, cultural and social needs.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Executive Director Julia Hockenberry talk about the joy of walking alongside children at the Boys & Girls Club. She shared story after story of children feeling supported and cared for in a way that helped them overcome so many obstacles. Last year, the club welcomed 854 children. His new membership year begins June 13 and he expects several hundred children to be there each day. The waiting list for the next membership year currently stands at 63 children and continues to grow.

The Childhood Trends study continues to say that “children and adolescents who have a formal or informal ‘mentor’ type relationship with someone outside their home are less likely to have externalizing behavior problems (bullying) and internalizing problems (depression)”. Our local Big Brothers Big Sisters group uses one-on-one mentoring relationships to support critical social and emotional development needed to help build resilience and promote the mental health and well-being of thousands of children served across America. . In Henderson County specifically, there are 32 “Littles” paired with “Bigs” and a growing waiting list.

Childhood trend data and numerous other studies highlight the many long-term benefits of having a mentor or caring adult outside the home to help promote a child’s positive well-being. . I have the privilege of watching our parent educators interact with the teens enrolled in our teen parenting program and know that these babies and their parents are getting the support they need to thrive and be the best parents they can be. Not only do they receive positive attention from a caring adult, but participants have the chance to regularly meet other teens who are also navigating the same hurdles that come with being a student, parent teenager and who still want to be a child themselves. Our Teen Parents program currently has 20 active parents and the number of referrals is growing.

There is great power in a connected community that takes care of its children. Best-selling author, award-winning speaker and former foster child Josh Shipp shares his message that “every child is a caring adult far from a success story.” At a time when it is often difficult to be that shining light for someone else, our county’s educators, counsellors, mentors and volunteers have been out in force to support the youth of our community and I thank you for this what you have done for my child and countless others.

Jamie Wiener is the Executive Director of the Child and Family Resource Center

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